I’m having this problem–and I know I’m not the only one–whereby most of the people in my life keep blowing off my poor mental health because I’m not quivering in a corner somewhere mumbling obscenities and drooling onto my bathrobe. And I’m not exactly whispering subtle cries for help into the wind in the dead of night when only the owls can hear me. I’m saying to a therapist, “I’m not ok and I need help.”
And he says back, “Can you get out of bed each day? Are you able to wash and dress yourself? Have you been going to work? Feeding your children? Engaging in pastimes that you enjoy?” Yes, thank you. I am fully functional as a member of society and fulfilling all of my expectations. But I’m not…. ok.
“Well, do you hear voices? Do you see things that aren’t there? Have you prepared a thorough implementation plan for a suicide attempt with a bulleted list of who’s to blame and a PowerPoint presentation that’ll help your next of kin produce a limited series on Netflix based on your true story?” No, I’m not batshit, I just need a little help.
“Have you tried dunking your face into an ice bath to stop your breathing and reset your brain?”
My God, NO! No, thank you!
“Do you engage in recreational drug use to self-soothe?”
“Do have a glass of wine or two at the end of the night or the middle of the day to take the edge off?”
No, what the hell? Are these your solutions? Are these the only solutions to being overworked and overtired and anxious and depressed and feeling like the world is a garbage bin collapsing in on itself?!
Obviously, I left that therapist. I changed jobs. I changed schedules. I implemented rules and strategies to organize at home. But I’m still… so tired. Soul tired. Mentally fatigued. Just so… so done.
There has got to be something better than wine and drugs and useless therapy and empty promises.
Maybe that’s why I write.
But I have to say, it’s pretty depressing that so little has changed since I starting writing this book two years ago. Releasing it now is just a reminder of how much further I need to go.
This book is about the slow realization that there was something wrong with my brain, how easy it was for everyone to ignore that, and finding a vice/self-medicating/self-soothing method that didn’t do any actual damage to my brain or body or children.
This book is also about using stories to become more self-aware, how we can find ourselves in fictional characters and use their emotions to discover our own.
This book is about marriage, how children can change a marriage, finding the faults in marriage and refusing to accept them.
This book is about postpartum life, infant hell, motherhood, and how society fails to take care of mothers.
This book is about addiction, how it doesn’t have to be about physical dependence, how the root is trauma, the whole thing about “gateways” being mental issues not dealt with.
This book is about self-actualization, understanding patterns of thought or behavior that don’t serve the health of the individual, the roots of those patterns, how one can discover their existence, and the decision to change them.
So the good news is that I have plenty of material for at least two sequels.
Here are the fun links I found about high-functioning mental health disorders:
High Functioning Mental Health Disorders on MentalHeathCenter.org
What it’s like to have a high-functioning mental health disorder by Mandy Frankel on TheMighty.com
What are the signs and symptoms of high functioning depression on BridgesToRecovery.com
Some people are high-functioning, but that doesn’t invalidate their mental health on Time-To-Change.org.uk